Everyone has those days where they need a good cry. They say sometimes crying it out is a good way to relieve the stresses that might be pent up inside. Although K-dramas are a great way to relieve stress in the form of laughs and eye-candy, there are also some very sad ones that can evoke a strong urge to weep. Here are 10 of those K-dramas.
1. “Hi Bye, Mama”
“Hi Bye, Mama” is a tvN series about a woman named Cha Yu Ri, played by Kim Tae Hee. She passes away in a tragic accident but comes back as a ghost for 49 days as a result of not being able to leave her daughter behind. She meets her husband Jo Kwang Hwa (Lee Kyu Hyung), and Yu Ri is able to tie up a lot of loose ends that she was not able to complete before her sudden death.
This tragic story will have anyone curled up in a ball of an emotional mess. The series will have you wanting to call up your close family members or even friends, telling them how much you love and cherish them. “Hi Bye, Mama” is about far more than the love of a mother. It’s about the value of life, close relationships, and how truth can often set you free. The heartfelt acting by Kim Tae Hee will fill your hearts with joy and pain all at the same time. It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster that needs preparing for!
2. “Youth Of May”
Lee Do Hyun plays Hwang Hee Tae, a charming and brilliant medical school student who falls in love with Kim Myung Hee (Go Min Si), a strong-willed and independent nurse. The backdrop of the drama takes place in May of 1980 in Gwangju, a period where students rebelled against the corrupt government. Many lives were lost during the Gwangju Uprising.
If you love a classic tale about two lovers who are trying to be together at all costs, “Youth Of May” cannot be overlooked. It stirred a lot of buzz in Korea as a result of the realistic and emotional acting by the cast as well as the heart-fluttering lines between the two lovers. It’s the intensity and passion of this romance that really builds up the story into making it a total tear-jerker at the end.
Watch the first episode here:
3. “Uncontrollably Fond”
Shin Joon Young (Kim Woo Bin) is a famous actor who fatefully meets No Eul (Suzy), a videographer for documentaries. She is put in charge to document Joon Young, but the two have some history. They had met in high school, and after a lot of miscommunication and missed opportunities, the two went separate ways without ever knowing the truth of each other’s feelings. No Eul has no intention of reigniting any feelings for Joon Young, but Joon Young seems to think otherwise. He’s determined to keep her close.
Get the tissues ready because this drama is one that will leave you in a puddle of tears. The story touches on regret, death, the importance of family, and of course, love. It takes you through the entire journey of Joon Young and No Eul, making you both against and for their relationship. The series will play with your heart but ultimately win you over by the end, leaving you weeping for more.
Start watching here:
Starring Seo In Guk as Kim Moo Young and Jung So Min as Yoo Jin Kang, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is definitely different from any K-drama you’ll watch this year. Moo Young is a man with a lot of baggage who does not know the truth about what happened to his parents when he was a child. He meets and falls in love with Yoo Jin Kang, and although her initial impression of him is pretty negative, she comes to fall in love with him as well. Jin Kang also being adopted as a child by her older brother (played by Park Sung Woong) plays into the entangled web of mystery that lies in their past.
The main lead is a mystery from the start, so it’s hard to determine if he has good or bad intentions. It takes a few good episodes to really understand his character and the tragic past he experienced that led him to become the shady and mysterious man that he is. Once this is settled, you really see the depth of love Moo Young has for Jin Kang, and it chalks him up to total heartthrob status. The ending of this series will not only take you on a ride of twists and turns, but it is guaranteed to rip your heart to shreds. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Watch the drama here:
5. “Mr. Sunshine”
This epic blockbuster stars Lee Byung Hun as Eugene Choi and Kim Tae Ri as Go Ae Shin in a historical piece that is set in the early 1900s. The story involves Eugene falling in love with Ae Shin despite their starkly different backgrounds. Eugene was born as a slave but runs away to the United States where he becomes a Captain of the Marine Corps while Ae Shin is a Joseon noblewoman.
The story of Ae Shin is one of the most inspiring tales told about a female warrior. Her bravery, strength, and belief in a better future will be unforgettable for viewers. Not only is her individual story captivating, but the love story she has with Eugene Choi is heartbreaking and beautiful. You’ll be entranced with their passionate love for each other, and ultimately, the sad fate that the two must encounter.
6. “Queen For 7 Days”
“Queen for 7 Days” stars Park Min Young as Queen Dangyeong of the Joseon Era. She is forced to give up her title as Queen as well as the man she loves (Yeon Woo Jin) just seven days after ascending to the throne.
This tragic and heartbreaking love story of Queen Dangyeong and the injustice that was bestowed onto her and her loved ones is truly unforgettable. The unrequited love story between the two and their inability to be together despite their undying love will have you weeping for them until the very end. Park Min Young’s stellar acting is bound to also evoke a lot of strong emotions!
Watch the first episode:
“Radiant” is a series starring Han Ji Min as Kim Hye Ja, a woman who dreams of becoming a news anchor one day. She wakes up one morning and has turned into a 70-year-old woman (Kim Hye Ja). She meets Lee Joon Ha (Nam Joo Hyuk), who is the opposite of Hye Ja in that he has given up any hope of having a dream. They are able to help each other through their situation and are able to learn from one another.
This series will have you shocked at how invested you get in the lives of Joon Ha and Hye Ja. The two form a relationship that will bring you healing and break your heart at the same time. Kim Hye Ja snagged the Daesang at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2019, and when you watch the series, you will be able to see why. As for Nam Joo Hyuk, this is by far his greatest performance, and the emotions he puts into his acting will have you empathizing with his despair. It’s relatable, emotional, and is guaranteed to leave you in a puddle of tears.
Watch this heartbreaking series here:
8. “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo”
IU stars as the lucky damsel Hae Soo in “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo.” Hae Soo gets sent back in time to the Goryeo era where she magically bumps into a royal family of many good-looking princes – most of whom fall in love with her. When she falls in love with one and gets her heart broken, she ends up falling in love with the “evil” brother Wang So (Lee Joon Gi). It’s a tragic love story as Wang So must choose duty over love, and Hae Soo is left heartbroken.
The unrequited love of Wang So and Hae Soo in this heartbreaking sageuk won the hearts of many. Although it didn’t have many happy moments, it’s a series that is worth watching for the romantic love story between the two leads and the incredible supporting cast. The tragedy at the end will haunt you forever and may keep you longing for a second season to mend your broken heart.
9. “The Red Sleeve”
Based on a novel, “The Red Sleeve” is a historical K-drama that tells the story of an emperor named Yi San (Lee Junho) who falls in love with a court lady named Seong Deok Im (Lee Se Young). Despite their differences in class and status, the two engage in a deep romance while trying to fight for their nation. This drama is based on the story of King Jeongjo, who was a noble and great ruler, and the woman he fell madly in love with.
It may seem like a standard star-crossed lovers themed storyline, but there’s something about this particular series that really tugs at the heartstrings. The romantic scenes, lines, gazes, and gestures are not at all cheesy but convey a level of depth that is very heart-fluttering. Seeing how much the emperor is so deeply in love with his court lady despite not knowing her feelings for him is heart-wrenchingly beautiful and worth watching.
Start watching “The Red Sleeve”:
10. “Death Song”
“Death Song” stars Lee Jong Suk as Kim Woo Jin, a well-known and respectable playwright. He meets Yoon Shim Deok (Shin Hye Sun), Joseon’s first soprano singer. Despite being married, he falls in love with her, which ensues a very sad and tragic love story. She later records a song titled “Praise of Death” which is noted as being the first Korean pop song.
What makes this love story even more tragic is the fact that it is based on a true story. Their story takes place during a time where the Japanese occupied Korea. It is a harrowing story all around as the two are struggling to be together despite all of the odds. You will appreciate the flawless performances by Lee Jong Suk and Shin Hye Sun, who, although only had a few episodes in this series together, managed to have so much chemistry.
Hey Soompiers, which of these sad K-dramas have you cried to? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG but has lately been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Thirty-Nine,” “Forecasting Love and Weather,” and “Twenty Five, Twenty One”
All-time favorite drama: “Secret Garden” and “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen